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Google unveils Nest Hub Max smart display with focus on privacy

JP Mangalindan
Chief Tech Correspondent
Google's new Nest Hub Max, arriving in late summer for $229. Source: Google

Google (GOOGGOOGL) on Tuesday announced the Nest Hub Max, a larger smart display that emphasizes privacy settings for users in the home.

With its 10-inch screen, the Google Assistant-enabled Nest Hub Max will be Google’s first smart display with a built-in camera for video chatting and security monitoring when it launches this summer for $229. To that end, Google built in several privacy measures into the hardware. When the camera is turned on, a small green LED indicator lights up, and users will also be able to turn off the camera’s features. Meanwhile, flipping a physical switch will shut off both the microphone and the camera entirely.

The Nest Hub Max emphasizes privacy

“Nothing is streamed or recorded unless you know it,” Rick Osterloh, SVP of Devices and Services, emphasized on Tuesday during its annual Google I/O conference in Mountain View, California.

Just like Google's first smart display, the Google Home Hub, the Nest Hub Max will respond to all of the same commands as Google's smart speakers. The device will also display extra information on the screen, such as the weather forecast or restaurant photos during a restaurant search. Users can also use the touchscreen to view YouTube videos and control compatible smart home gadgets.

However, the Nest Hub Max’s built-in camera will also allow for additional features such as video chatting, as well as live streaming a video feed to people’s smartphones so security-minded users can check in on what’s happening in their homes.

Google SVP of Devices and Services Rick Osterloh announces the new Nest Hub Max during the keynote address at the 2019 Google I/O conference at Shoreline Amphitheatre on May 07, 2019 in Mountain View, California. The annual Google I/O Conference runs through May 8. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Another new feature called Face Match enables the device to recognize someone’s face when they get home and show a personalized home page. In keeping with the Nest Hub Max’s privacy focus, Google added that the device processes facial data on the device and does not upload that to the cloud.

Nest Hub Max is the first Google device to use the company’s Nest branding for its smart speaker devices, extending a brand largely known for its smart thermostats to entertainment and communications devices.

The Nest Hub Max’s announcement coincides with a rebranding of the Google Home Hub, which Google is now being called the Nest Hub. The change in name from Google Home Hub to the Google Nest Hub had been previously reported by a report from 9to5Google in April, which cited a “reliable source” familiar with the matter. Android Police in March also spotted a premature posting for the Nest Hub Max Google’s web site in March.

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